June 24, 2011

Right to Work Causing Controversy

Right to Work Causing Controversy
Jun 21, 2011

Michigan avoided the kind of labor unrest they experienced in Wisconsin earlier this year, but one democratic leader predicts, if conservative republicans start to push right to work legislation, it will create a devastating fight between business and labor.

It drew national attention when organized labor fought the republicans in Wisconsin over collective bargaining rights. The state democratic party chair predicts the same thing could happen here if conservative republicans push right to work in order to create more jobs, they claim.

Mark Brewer, State Democratic Chair: “It won’t create jobs. It will create the biggest multi-year devastating fight that will be all over the national news. Why would anyone want to invest here when we have that kind of fighting here in Michigan?”

Ironically the Republican governor agrees with the democratic party chair. Gov. Snyder says such a debate would be devastating, and while he would sign a right to work bill if it got to his desk, he says it is not one of his priorities. It is a high priority for one GOP conservative.

Rep. Marty Knollenberg, (R) Oakland County: “We’re not abolishing unions. We’re simply saying you should be forced to join a union. Once the public understands that, we’ll get greater buy in.”

Right to work legislation is getting a push from the tea party movement, which reports, in other states, it is working.

Tom Norton, pro-right to work: “These states are growing economically. The unemployment is low. The wages are a lot higher than Michigan.”

Ray Holman, UAW 6000: “We’re facing 70 bad bills that attack collective bargaining rights, and then to add this to the mix is just going to upset people, really.”

Which is what the governor wants to avoid here, but some conservatives say they will move on this later on nonetheless.